Thursday, December 06, 2012
How to look at the expenses involved in quality health care

By Dr. Anthony Policastro
I have been a football fan since 1964. That is almost 50 years. One of the things on my bucket list was to attend a Super Bowl. So when I went to watch Super Bowl XXXV, I got the chance to fill that square. I had the added bonus of seeing the Ravens beat the Giants that day. The face value $300 ticket cost me $2,200. Some people say that it was too much money. However, if you divide that by the number of years I have been a football fan, it comes out to less than $50 per year. That makes the expenditure more logical. We see similar situations in medicine but we just don't realize it. For example, the shingles vaccine is now recommended for individuals over age 60. Unfortunately, it is not always covered by insurance. For that reason, people will need to pay out of pocket for the vaccine. They look at the cost as a onetime cost and think it is too expensive. In reality, the vaccine is not a onetime expense. The coverage that you get from it lasts for a period of years. Thus, much like my Super Bowl ticket, the cost needs to be looked at over a longer period of time. If you pay $500 to receive the vaccine and then are covered for 10 years, that works out to be about $50 per year for the coverage. Another way to look at medical expenses is by comparing them to what we would spend on other things on a daily basis. I was recently in a retail establishment. There was a conversation with the owner going on while I was there. His co-workers were trying to convince him to go to the doctor to have the symptoms he was currently having treated. His argument was that he was told he needed to have a medical procedure done to make the diagnosis. His co-pay for the procedure was going to be too high for him to afford. I mentioned that he probably would be willing to spend more money to have his car repaired than he would to get the procedure done. He laughed and told me that he had just spent $2,000 to have his car repaired. That was much more than his co-pay would have been for the procedure. I wondered out loud how good his car would be to him if he died from his medical condition. These are just two examples of how we sometimes look at medical care costs in the wrong way. I suspect that if I went to someone and told them that I could guarantee that they would live to be 100 and that they would die peacefully in their sleep at that age, they would pay anything I asked for that guarantee. Unfortunately, sometimes we are penny wise and pound foolish about our health care costs. We need to step back and look at the big picture and focus on the real prize - our health. The cost of good health needs to be measured in more ways than one.

Dr. Fedalen joins Bayhealth team Bayhealth announces that cardiovascular and thoracic surgeon Paul Fedalen, MD, is joining the Bayhealth Cardiovascular Surgical Associates team in Dover. Dr. Fedalen has served as an attending cardiac, thoracic, vascular, and general surgeon since 2004 at Kent General Hospital. He is a member of the Bayhealth Cancer Institute board of directors and also serves as co-chair of the lung cancer multidisciplinary team. After completing the majority of his medical training at Temple University in Philadelphia, Dr. Fedalen traveled south to Atlanta's Emory University Hospital for his residency in cardiothoracic surgery. He was selected as chief and administrative resident, Cardiothoracic Surgery, during his final year at Emory. Prior to joining Bayhealth Cardiovascular Surgical Associates, Dr. Fedalen worked at the Eden Hill Medical Center in Dover.

Beebe Home Health in top 500 list Beebe Home Health Agency has been named to the Top 500 of the 2012 HomeCare Eliteª, a compilation of the top-performing home health agencies in the United States. Now in its seventh year, the HomeCare Elite identifies the top 25 percent of agencies and further highlights the top 100 and top 500 agencies overall. Winners are ranked by an analysis of publicly available performance measures in quality outcomes, process measure implementation, patient experience (Home Health CAHPS), quality improvement, and financial performance. The entire list of 2012 HomeCare Elite agencies can be downloaded by visiting the National Research Corporation website at

Bayhealth Junior Board hosts sale The Junior Board of Kent General Hospital invites you to their "Around the Clock" sale. Presenting an array of gorgeous designer handbags, boutique dresses, and other select merchandise, the sale will be held in the lobby of Kent General. Don't miss the jewelry section, where you are sure to find beautiful, unique gifts for everyone on your holiday list. All pieces are $6. The sale begins Thursday, Dec. 6 at 7 a.m., and closes at 3 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 7.

Employee of the quarter named Kathi Kinsey, BSN, RN, of Bridgeville was recently named Bayhealth Milford Memorial's Employee of the Quarter. As Employee of the Quarter, Kinsey received a plaque, a $100 gift card, and a special parking spot. She is also now a finalist for Bayhealth Employee of the Year, awarded each May. A Bayhealth employee since 1994, Kinsey worked in Milford Memorial's 2 West, IMC and ICU units before transferring to the Operating Room, where her main responsibilities include helping anesthesia with blocks for patients receiving total joint replacements and SCIP (Surgical Care Improvement Process of Care) measures. SCIP is a quality of care measure in which Kinsey ensures the care of all post-operative patients meets certain guidelines. Kinsey received her nursing diploma from the Beebe School of Nursing and her bachelor's degree in nursing from Wilmington University, where she is currently enrolled in the graduate nursing program.

She is a national and state member of ASPAN (The American Society of PeriAnesthesia Nurses), as well a member of Bayhealth's Pharmacy Nurse Committee, SCIP Committee and Surgical Oversight Work Group. In her spare time, she and her fiancé enjoy showing their quarter horses.

Wright joins Wound Care Center Nanticoke Health Services welcomes Kathy Wright, CWOCN-AP as community education specialist at Nanticoke's Wound Care & Hyperbaric Center located at 801 Middleford Rd., Seaford. Wright, with over 35 years of nursing experience, including service with the U.S. Air Force and Nurse Corps, has worked as a clinical nurse specialist for nearly 20 years with a focus in wound care. She previously served close to 20 years at Nanticoke in various positions. She was instrumental in opening Nanticoke's Wound Care & Hyperbaric Center in 2006, including the opening of the first hyperbaric oxygen therapy service in Delaware. She is board certified in wound, ostomy, continence nursing (WOCN), and advanced hyperbaric specialties. Wright has served as president of the national WOCN Certification Board (WOCNCB) and on the Board for the National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists. She was awarded the WOCNCB President's Award in Advanced Practice in 2005 and the Excellence in Advanced Nursing Practice Award in 2003 from the Delaware Nurses Association/Delaware Organization of Nurse Executives. She has published and lectured extensively on wound care, hyperbaric therapy, and topics in advanced practice nursing. For more information and to schedule an appointment, call the center at 628-8322.

Go Red for Women 2013 The Southern Delaware Go Red For Women will be held on Friday, Feb. 8, 2013. Tickets, which are $35 each, include extensive health screenings, $10 gift card from Macy's, guest gift bag and lunch, entertainment that includes fashion show and silent auction. Table sponsorships are $1,000 and exhibitor sponsorships are $1,500. The event begins at 10 a.m. with lunch and the program starting at noon. For more information, visit

NMH offers CPR classes Nanticoke Memorial Hospital will offer community CPR classes to anyone interested in learning CPR at the Nanticoke Training Center located on Water Street in Seaford. Participants will learn how to perform the basic skills of CPR on adults, children, and infants and how to help an adult, child, or infant who is choking and use of the AED. This classroom-based, video, and instructor-led CPR course offers families, friends, and community members the opportunity to learn CPR and need a course completion card. Classes are open to participants ages 12 and up. This program is specifically designed for those who prefer to learn in a group environment with feedback from an instructor. Cost is $40. Payment and registration is required by no later than five business days prior to the class. Late registrations may be accepted if seating is available. To register and to obtain a listing of class dates/times, contact the Nanticoke Memorial Hospital's Training Center office at 629-6611, ext. 8919. Pre-registration is required.

Tobacco cessation classes Bayhealth's seven week Tobacco Cessation program offers support and guidance to help you quit using all tobacco products. The series of classes began Tuesday, Nov. 6 and is held every Tuesday for seven weeks, ending on Dec. 18. The class will be held from 5 to 6:30 p.m. in the Rehab Conference Room at Bayhealth Milford Memorial. This series of classes offers strategies to improve your lifestyle through behavior modification, diet, stress reduction, exercise and nicotine replacement therapy. The "quit week" is the fourth week of the program. This program is free to all Delaware residents. Call 1-877-453-7107 to register. You must be at least 18 to register and be able to attend all sessions. For more info, or to register for the next series, call Bayhealth Clinical Educator Terry Towne, MSN, RN-BC, NE-BC, at 744-6724.

Bayhealth offers COPD support According to the American Lung Association, 13 million Americans have been diagnosed with COPD, and millions more are undiagnosed. So what is COPD? "COPD, or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, is a lung disease that makes it difficult to breathe," said Bayhealth Lead Respiratory Therapist Debi Brown, MBA, RRT. "It includes emphysema, asthma, chronic bronchitis and other diseases, and it is now the third-leading cause of death." But, COPD is preventable and treatable, particularly when diagnosed early. The most obvious means of prevention is to not smoke; however it is possible to have COPD without having ever smoked a single cigarette. Second hand smoke, air pollution, genetic disorders, and occupational dust and chemicals can all contribute to COPD. "It's not just a smoker's disease," Brown added. "It's anything that impairs lung function." Anyone with symptoms of COPD, which include a constant cough, shortness of breath during normal daily activities, the production of sputum (phlegm), wheezing, and the inability to take deep breaths, should be tested. Bayhealth offers physician-referred pulmonary rehabilitation programs at both Kent General and Milford Memorial to help rebuild lung strength, reduce shortness of breath, and identify triggers that exacerbate COPD. Bayhealth will reintroduce a "Better Breathers Support Group" on Feb. 28, 2013, from 4:30 to 6 p.m. in the General Foods Conference Room at Kent General for anyone with COPD. Registration is not required. For more information, contact Terry Towne, MSN, RN-BC, NE-BC at 302-744-6724.